Things to know ahead of the 2022 WRC Rallye Monte-Carlo
The 2022 WRC will kick off this season at the Rallye Monte-Carlo and there are quite a few new things that we will be witnessing over the weekend. Rallye Monte-Carlo is the WRC’s crown jewel and the oldest in the calendar. The first run on the track dates back all the way to 1911 when it was designed to promote Monte-Carlo as a tourist destination.
We start with the new hybrid-powered Rally1 cars that have been unveiled by the constructors for this season. This would definitely bring a new dimension to rallying. On the track side, we will witness completely new stages as 95 per cent of the Special Stages are new when compared to 2021. Moreover, the Col de Turini section is back on the itinerary and this time, it will happen in the dark! So with all that said, let us look at the things to know ahead of the 2022 WRC Rallye Monte-Carlo.
2022 Rallye Monte-Carlo Stage Rundown
The 2022 Rallye Monte-Carlo is coming with a bang as it promises to be the most unpredictable rally of the year. The terrain of the track is the asphalt roads of the French Alps with high chances of winter snow on the high mountains. This will not only make the track challenging for the drivers, but it will also play a key role on the tyre compounds chosen by the teams.
The rally will have 17 stages which span to a length of 296.03km. On Thursday, the stage starts around evening and the public will be introduced to the cars in action for the first time at the Col de Turini. Col de Turini is one of the most iconic locations in the WRC calendar. It attracts huge crowds who gather around the summit of the Alpes Maritimes to watch the cars in action. The stage will also host the longest stage of the rally at 23.25km.
On Friday, the participants will head further north for two loops of three stages in the Mercantour National Park. The total distance covered for the day will be around 97.86km. The route of the day takes them from Roure, a small commune in France, to Entrevaux. The route will be separated by a tyre change in Puget-Théniers.
The action on Saturday takes the drivers west to the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence. The day will start at Le Fugeret, before heading to a double loop of Saint Jeannet/Malijai. The drivers will also experience the demanding Saint-Geniez/Thoard section which will be divided by a tyre change in Digne-les-Bains. The drivers will cover 92.46km on this day.
The drivers head back to the Alpes-Maritimes on Sunday. The new La Penne-Entrevaux stage will be driven twice without a service break. Moreover, the second pass will be the Wolf Power Stage with bonus points. The four stages of the day will add up to 67.26km.
Introduction of the Hybrid power
There is a new weapon that was revealed for the 2022 WRC. Regulation changes by the FIA and WRC require the manufacturing teams to not only use their IC engines, but also integrate a battery pack into the mix.
So for this year, all three manufacturers will use the same 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engines as used in the previous year, but at the same time, it will be integrated with a standardised 3.9kWh battery pack, inverter and electric motor that will churn close to 136bhp and 180Nm of torque. Total power output is expected to be in excess of 500bhp. The battery pack will be housed inside a sealed carbon fibre housing.
The rally cars will retain the four-wheel drive systems and five-speed sequential boxes used in 2021 and like before, they will not be allowed to utilise any active centre differentials. The suspension and axles will also be simplified when compared to the 2021 regulations.
The manufacturers have also incorporated additional reinforcement to the internal roll cages, with supplement strengthening hoop placed at the rear of the welded cage to better accommodate the new battery pack. The door bars have also been strengthened for better side protection.
2022 Rally1 Driver Line-up
The driver lineup has remained mostly unchanged for the 2022 season. But the surprise is that WRC legends Sebastien Loeb and Sébastien Ogier will be participating in the Rallye Monte-Carlo rally but will not participate in the rest of the season.
The Hyundai Shell Mobis lineup is as follows:
The Toyota Gazoo Racing lineup is as follows:
The M-Sport Ford lineup is as follows:
Car Setup and Challenges
Weather seems to be one of the biggest challenges at the 2022 Rallye Monte-Carlo. It can become exceptionally difficult with the varied weather on the mountains. Drivers are expected to tackle snow, ice and dry asphalt through the stages and if they are lucky, they will face all the three conditions on the same stage.
It is important for the drivers and the crew to decide the right tyre compound as it may become the deciding factor in a stage. Pirelli will bring a choice of P Zero asphalt tyres in soft and supersoft compounds. For more severe conditions, it has Sottozero winter tyres – non-studded for wet or soft snow conditions and studded for compact snow and ice.
Drivers and crews will also experience limited service as there is no mid-leg service on any of the four days. Once crews depart Monaco in the morning, only they can work on their cars, using tools carried in the vehicle, until the cars return in the evening.
The 2022 WRC Rallye Monte-Carlo starts from January 20 and will run for four days. It is still unclear on who has the upper hand in the fight for the 2022 titles as it is unclear which team or driver has the edge with the new hybrid vehicles. You can watch the 2022 WRC on WRC+. For more news and updates from the world of motorsport, stay tuned to evo India!